Falklands : President Bush to Visit Argentina in November
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 10.10.2005 (Article Archived on 24.10.2005)
The BBC's Dee Palmer quizzes ABC's Joe Goldman about President Bush's up-coming Argentine visit.
PRESIDENT BUSH TO VISIT ARGENTINA IN NOVEMBER
A Report for BBC World Service “Calling the Falklands” by Dee Palmer (DP) 07 October 2005
President Bush will be in Argentina next month to attend the Summit of the Americas, which brings together the leaders of 34 countries. While he’s there, Mr Bush will have a private meeting with the Argentine President, Nestor Kirshner. Officially, there’s an open agenda. But I asked Joe Goldman (JG), who reports for ABC in Buenos Aires, what topics are likely to come up.
JG: I’m sure there will be some discussion about the continuing economic plan of the Argentine Government. There will be talk about the private companies, the private utilities, the rate setting here in Argentina.
DP: So, is this part of the United States agenda to liberalise economies, liberalise trade world-wide.
JG: I would say open market reforms are at the top of the agenda. There’s a number of things that the Bush Administration will probably be trying to push.
DP: And, will President Bush also be looking to make sure that Argentina is on side when it comes to the war on terror and more generally to strengthen democracy?
JG: I think the issue of the war on terror – they will talk about that and Argentina is trying to do certain things to close up its own boarders to terrorism. Remember that there were two terrorist attacks in the ‘90s here. And, that will be a topic for discussion, with possibly some kind of assistance programme.
DP: Does the US actually see Argentina as an important bulwark of democracy in Latin America?
JG: I think the US has serious questions about Argentina. They don’t quite understand a lot of the things that this Government does. They are not too happy about his support of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Also, there was a time where Kirshner was very close with Cuba, although, I would say since the United States has supported the economic plan here in international forums, there has been a change in the Argentine relationship with Cuba.
DP: Now, looking at it from the Argentine side, what do you think President Kirshner wants to achieve from his meeting with President Bush?
JG: I think he wants to extend the support that the United States has given to Argentina over the years on the economic plan. He also wants to utilise this meeting as a means of showing that he is an international figure.
DP: perhaps, unfortunately for President Kirshner, the mid-term elections will already have taken place before the summit of the Americas.
JG: That’s true. Although part of the whole run-up to the Summit is the fact that this Government is letting everybody know all the time that Mr. Kirshner will be meeting with Mr. Bush. So, I think it’s been made part of the election.
DP: And, in this meeting, is it likely that President Kirshner will raise the issue of the Falklands with Mr. Bush. I mean, Mr. Kirshner does this with every international politician that he meets.
JG: I really don’t know if he would bring the Falklands up in a private meeting. I would say that the Argentine Governments are known to bring the Falklands up in open meetings where it is seen. It’s more for the gallery, if you will. I think there are other things on the agenda that might be more pressing.
DP: And finally, for President Bush, is this an opportunity to show that he does have an interest in affairs in Latin America and Central America, which perhaps has been lacking during his presidency up to now?
JG: South American Governments – Presidents really feel neglected. So, I think this will be a way of healing those wounds to some degree.
(100X Transcription and Monitoring Service)